My apprentice moves on…
When I was really young, I had an irrational habit of naming all of my toys Clarence. This is one of those stories that you hope never comes out and is always the first thing your mom tells a girlfriend when she meets your parents. It is a fact that my wife still laughs about daily. It was only fitting that after buying our first house together, we found a dog at the Humane Society named Clarence and immediately adopted him. He shortly became the dog of many names: Clare, Clare-Bear, Bear, The Bear, Clarenstein, Clarenstein Bear, Skinny Butt, Lick-Lick, Buddy-roo, and many more. We were smitten!
Clarence was found on the street, horribly malnourished, abused, and very scared. When we first went to meet him, he wouldn’t come near us and was really skittish. His beautiful jet black coat was flaked with dandruff and his eyes were dull and wary. Despite this cold reception, we loved him immediately and took him home that night. He had just been neutered and per doctors’ orders could not be bathed for 72 hours. Boy did he stink, and boy did he not want a bath when the time came! Because of his unknown past, no one is quite sure of his breed mix or age. We know that he has labrador and shepherd in him, but not sure what else. It didn’t matter, because as he grew to trust us (and we began to spoil him royally) our love for him and his love for us deepened every day.
Clare was not a dog known to play and we feel that due to his rough “childhood” he never learned to play. He did relish our company and began to follow us everywhere. That naturally led him into my shop. He didn’t like the machines as loud noises still make him nervous, so he really loved it when I discovered hand tools. In fact, both of my dogs have become such fixtures in my shop that I prominently featured them on my business web site when I decided to start selling some of my work. Clare was the safety inspector. He was always there giving me a look that seemed to say, “should you be doing that” or “isn’t there a quieter way to do that?”. He would often stop me in the middle of a project and prod me with his paw (Pointy Paw was another of his names) so that I would sit down and pet him for a little while while we discussed the design of the table or chair currently under construction. We made a great team!
As you can probably tell by the past tense to all of this, we lost Clare just recently. He developed a tumor in his lung that may or may not have been cancerous. What started as something to be “aware” of, turned into a rapidly declining condition over the period of one weekend. On Tuesday, June 17th, my wife and I had to make the dreaded call and we decided that his pain and poor quality of life were too much to subject him to it further. After consulting with our vet, he agreed, and just after 11 AM Clare finally decided enough was enough. It was finally determind that he was anywhere from 8-10 years old. Regardless, we only had him a little more than 4 and a half years. Way too short, but plenty of time for him to change our lives completely. Plenty of time to leave a very large hole in our hearts today.
I have talked to my Golden, Alex, about his stepping up in the shop to fill the shoes of apprentice and I think he will settle in nicely if he ever pays attention and stops eating all the power cords in sight! Alex is another adoptee and if there is any message to this post, it is that organizations like The Humane Society, and ASPCA are wonderful sources for your next best friend. It warms my heart to think that we took this poor abused dog off the street and gave him the best home he could ever want. 4 years may not have been much time, but the alternative for Clare would have been much worse.
This week we lost one of our kids, and I will never forget him.
I miss you Clare and thank you for all the love you gave us while you were here.